Is this a salad or a cold soup? It all depends on where you are from because there are many different versions. In Spain's southern regions of Jaen and Malaga, it is called Porra Antequerana; is blended with stale bread and eaten as a cold soup - think gazpacho. However, this diced vegetable salad called Pipirrana is traditional peasant food eaten all over the south and south-central regions of Spain, including Andalucia, Murcia, and la Mancha. In the region of Murcia it also goes by the name of mojete, and is often prepared with tomatoes and red peppers that have been roasted, rather than with raw vegetables.
Traditionally, Spanish workers in the fields would have prepared pipirrana with only fresh vegetables and would have splurged to include olives, tuna, and hard-boiled eggs on feast days or other special occasions. However, nowadays tuna and eggs are commonly added to the salad.
- Rinse peppers and remove stems, seeds and veins. Cut peppers into small square pieces. Peel and mince the garlic. Peel the cucumber and cut into small squares. Cut tomatoes and onion into small cubes.
- Mix all ingredients together in a glass or ceramic bowl. Add vinegar and oil mix well. Adjust salt to taste. Place in refrigerator and allow salad to marinate and chill for at least 30 minutes before serving.
Tip: If the salad must be served before marinating/chilling, quickly chill salad by placing ice cubes in a large bowl, then placing the salad bowl into the ice and turning to chill all sides of the bowl for 5-10 minutes. Remove to serve, or allow the salad to continue to chill in the ice during the meal.
Below are a few alternate versions of Pipirrana to try:
- Add Seafood - Although the basic version above contains only vegetables, seafood is often added, such as: canned, pickled or marinated tuna, flaked salt cod (salt leached out by soaking 24-hours in advance), small chunks of cooked hake, smoked herring, or roe.
- Use Fresh Lemon - Some households in Spain prefer a fresher taste and use juice from a lemon instead of vinegar.
- Add Spices - Mint and cumin are spices that are sometimes added to Pipirrana to add a bit of zest.
More Cold Spanish Salads
Due to the long hot summer days, people in the south of Spain developed a wide variety of cold drinks, soups and salads to keep cool. The list below are a few of the most popular.